This article comes from Den of Geek UK.
This review contains spoilers.
The second episode of The Loch gets going by throwing out more questions for our motley crew of investigators to answer. Craig Petrie, who found Niall’s body, has been holding on to the victim’s phone, using a good throw to toss it into the loch. Quigley and Albrighton get the hunt for the killer properly underway. Jonjo’s rebellion leads to him spotting Dr Marr disposing of a dead wolf at the abattoir and the teen goes missing shortly afterwards. Jordan is showing signs of recovery, but is being kept under sedation for a reason known only to his mum. Leighton Thomas turns out to have a particularly dark past that places him firmly in the frame, whilst Annie tries to do what she can without being part of the official investigation team.
The first episode’s strength was in the gloomy atmosphere it created where a sense of foreboding seemed as present as the loch itself. This week’s need to get the plot going properly means that atmosphere is set to one side a little. There’s still that ominous tone to everything, but it is more focused in on certain characters rather than the grand, sweeping shots of the dramatic Scottish landscape.
In the wake of her unceremonious dumping from the investigation, Annie gets a couple of moping scenes in which Laura Fraser has to do her best with a couple of thudding lines. However, as the episode goes on, it seems to get better at knowing what to do with Annie’s character. Her ongoing troubled relationship with her daughter is confined to one scene, ensuring that Annie gets more to do than act parental. As with last week, it’s her local knowledge that advances the case in that rather icky discovery of Niall’s brain matter and it gets her back on the case.
Fraser and Siobhan Finneran get that little scene together towards the end of the episode and the contrast of Fraser as the wide-eyed local cop desperate for a big case with Finneran’s Quigley having seen it all is one of the best and also most typical aspect of the episode. It might be a cliche, but the actors have a solid chemistry that makes it work. Elsewhere, we get more of Albrighton, whose forensic profiler cad act walked off the Thriller shelf in the library, but again, Don Gilét’s performance that carries the material.
The focus on the main investigation means that we speed through a few plot points here, particularly Jonjo’s, who goes from wolf liberator to kidnap victim via a bottle of pills in what feels like about five minutes. Is he the killer’s next victim? Then there’s the first chief suspect hauled in front of Quigley and Albrighton’s dynamic duo. It turns out Leighton has a murderous past and it unsurprisingly puts him as a suspect for Niall’s murder. It’s another plot point that burns out fast, given that Leighton has an alibi, but another suspect is off the list and there’s plenty of people acting suspiciously enough. Petrie surely has to be at the front of the queue now.
Yes, it’s piling trope upon cliché and there’s occasional clangers in the dialogue, but it’s easy to get swept up in the mysterious goings-on of the townsfolk. There’s something comforting about its formulaic aspects and the cast are all assured hands with the material. Hopefully they have a few more twists for us too. I do find myself asking one question though: why hasn’t anyone named the killer the Loch Ness Monster yet? It’s right there…